North Carolina Handicraft—Tatting

tatting1Tatting is a form of lace making, historically the domain of upper class women who had the leisure time required of this handicraft. Queen Victoria was an avid tatter. Tatting dates to the early 1800s. The word, tatting, derives from the French word, frivolité, an indication of the decorative nature of the projects produced using this technique.

tatting2In tatting, thread is wrapped around 1-2 shuttles. The shuttles guide the thread into a series or pattern of knots and loops, creating rings and chains in delicate lace designs. The tatter uses one hand to wrap the thread and the other hand to manipulate the shuttle. No other tools are necessary except the thread and the shuttle. The best thread for tatting is a dense thread that doesn’t untwist easily. DMC and Perl cotton are often utilized.

Tatting projects include: doilies, earrings, necklaces, Christmas ornaments, bookmarks, baby items and can serve as edging from everything from wedding veils to handkerchiefs to clothing.

tatting3Due to fashion and home décor magazines, tatting had a tremendous following throughout the first half of the 20th century. This art form flourished when fashion trends incorporated frilly, feminine touches such as lace collars and cuffs. Once technology made lace making an inexpensive and readily available purchase, handmade lace declined. Tatting has experienced a small revival of sorts and is now often used in occupational therapy to keep patients’ fine motor skills and minds tuned during a long recovery period.

Trivia question—When was tatting mentioned in Carolina Reckoning? What was happening?

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Behind-the-Scenes Photos from Carolina Reckoning

The World of Weathersby1



imagesRaleigh—the setting of Carolina Reckoning


oakwoodHistoric Oakwood Cemetery—the saddest day of Claire and Justin’s lives.



P1050118An actual historic home in Raleigh—inspiration for Weathersby. I worked as a staff docent here long ago.



What happened beside the magnolia at the Ball?P1050124




P1050131An example of a Southern sleeping porch.




gardenpartyThe magical night of the Ball.



Cinderella dances under the light of a Carolina moon.table




More behind-the-scenes photos of Carolina Reckoning can be found at

What’s your favorite scene in Carolina Reckoning? Why?

The Cola Wars—A Survey

pepsibottlecapIn a recent interview, Ace Collins, writer-extraordinaire, asked me how a nice Southern girl like myself could justify her character, Alison, favoring Pepsi-Cola. Which got me to thinking about a little known conflict outside the borders of North Carolina.

Interesting dilemma in which we North Carolinians find ourselves.cokebottlecap

You see, sure Coca-Cola headquarters are located in Atlanta, Georgia. Cola history began in 1886 when a pharmacist in Atlanta, Dr. John S. Pemberton, created a soft drink that could be sold at soda shops. This flavored syrup was mixed with carbonated water and met with resounding reviews.

But what you may not know?

Pepsi was invented in New Bern, NORTH CAROLINA. Yeah, you read that right. Created in 1893 by Caleb Bradham at his drugstore and sold at his soda fountain. His syrup featured the digestive enzyme pepsin and kola nuts. His goal was to create a drink that was delicious, an aid to digestion, and boosted energy.

And for North Carolinians, it’s been a war of Braveheart proportions. Our loyalties tugged in both directions. Families—a bitter re-eaactment of the War of Northern Aggression—divided ever since. Fueled feuds along the lines of the Hatfields and McCoys. Resulted in tragedies reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet.

There are rumors tobacco farmers who supplied Moon Pies, Nab and cola to farm workers during a mid-afternoon break would hire and fire according to contrary cola opinions.

It can get ugly, people.

Old barns dot the countryside, sporting Coca-cola or Pepsi advertising logos. Once in a while, you’ll see dear, middle child types who try to walk the middle of the road, appease both sides and display Coke and Pepsi billboards on the same storefront or tobacco barn.

Well, let me just say, that’s wins no friends and influences nobody. Can’t respect a person who can’t make up their mind and stick to their convictions. After all, are we the Tar Heel State or not?
And you know, what happens to creatures who inhabit the middle of the road? That’s right. Roadkill.

cokeadThis inner struggle reached new lows on the homefront during World War II. It got nasty. Patriotism was called into question.

Oh, yeah. They so went there. Took it to a whole new level. pepsicolaadapril1942

pepsisantaSanta has weighed on the issue, too. And by weighed in, I mean weighed in. Small North Carolina children have been threatened, I won’t say who, with their names crossed off the “Nice” list at any breach in family loyalty. This has figured prominently in generation-gap, menopausal/adolescent hormone-riddled conflicts.santacoke

So yes, Alison Monaghan drinks Pepsi.
But as for Claire? What do you think?

So if you come for a visit to NC and stop at a roadside stand, country store or restaurant, take a good look at the menu before you ask for a soft drink beverage. Be very careful. Or be prepared for the self-respecting waitress to wrinkle her nose and curl her lip. Shotguns may emerge from behind cash registers. Remember, people have been tarred and feathered for less.

This is a public service announcement brought to you by Carolina Reckoning.

Survey—Which cola do you drink?
Entries such as Dr. Pepper (shudder) or Mountain Dew (ick) will be disqualified due to lack of good taste.

Sneak Peek—Carolina Reckoning Book Trailer

One week before release, here’s a look at the book trailer for Carolina Reckoning.

What do you think?

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